Eventide’s General Manager on Noisy Restaurants
Until this morning, when I got a note via facebook from the general manager at Eventide, a top 50 performer in this year's Young & Hungry Dining Guide. Dave Pressley has plenty to say on the subject (some of it self-serving, but hey, can you blame the guy?). He gave me permission to rerun it here:
Read what you wrote about noise in restaurants...it's very true and most guests can't stand it, but a lot of restaurant owners have known for YEARS that loud noise generally ends up in faster turning tables because they can't get lost in conversation. Guests eat their meals and then leave to have a conversation somewhere else.
"Have a nice night folks...and a party of four, sir?"
We knew this fact going into designing Eventide and doing the opposite has worked so far in the fact that we are staying busy, especially in this economy. No, we're not serving as many people as we are capable of serving on any given night, but the ones who dine with us generally always compliment us on the noise level and the ease in which they can carry a conversation...except for the drunk lady the other night who begged us to "crank the music" because she could hear other people's voices over the music. Yeah, you guessed it...she was wearing a tiara too and it was her birthday. Gah.
The end result in that we are being rewarded with multiple visits and a slew of regulars that would otherwise just go to any restaurant for dinner. They aren't going anywhere though–they're dining with us so they can hear themselves talk and enjoy their meal in a calming environment.
We ARE definitely finding it a bit of an issue with lingering tables that won't leave in a timely manner so we can be more punctual with seating our post-7:30 reservations, but as long as they're coming in the building, it's a problem that I can deal with.
Photo by Daquella Manera via Flickr Creative Commons